A caring defender can make all the difference – The Examiner


Shortly after my special needs daughter was born, Kelsey, a very nice lady called me.

The lady identified herself as a service coordinator. I had no idea what a service coordinator did or does. I waited to call her back thinking about Kelsey’s needs.

I had no training in cerebral palsy, blindness, heart defect, liver disease, cognitive retardation, speech therapy or ileostomy. Where in heaven’s name would I find the services necessary to help me and our family help Kelsey?

Is there a school, doctor, church, or government program that could give me a direction or program? What resources are available?

What would Kelsey need to live with cerebral palsy, or could she outgrow the paralysis?

Would Kelsey’s handicap take longer? Can I continue my degree or my job?

I thought about the call from the service coordinator. I really needed to know if she was a collector.

Back then, pre-existing conditions were not covered when a baby was born premature.

But that wasn’t a problem because she wasn’t in the billing department. She was in the “I’m going to walk you through your daughter’s needs and help you navigate this new lifestyle.”

I was a little relieved. I had no knowledge of disability to take care of my daughter.

So you know that a service coordinator in this area works with people with special needs of all ages and their families. A CS can inform families of the services and accommodation available. A SC may also perform an assessment to determine what services will be needed.

This indispensable, essential and resourceful lady (never had an SC man in 46 years) can help the family plan, connect and implement programs.

In 1976 Kelsey’s first service coordinator referred us to a program called Early Intervention.

Kelsey was going to school as soon as she was healthy enough to go to school.

Seriously, my four pound baby was going to school in a few months.

In fact, the day Kelsey came home from NICU, we had a physical therapist on our doorstep.

Her name was Deanna. What a lovely lady she was and is, as I recently linked her on Facebook.

Well, in four decades, we’ve had numerous surgeries (over 50), lived in multiple states (eight), attended therapy (PT, OT, SLP), participated in state and federal programs ( dozens) and was able to do all of this for Kelsey because of his service coordinator (maybe 85 SC).

Over the years Kelsey Developmental Disabilities Services Coordinators have made referrals, scheduled appointments, attended IEP (school reunions, I’d rather eat worms than attend IEP) and to ensure that Kelsey had the necessary support and services for her medical, habilitation, social and educational needs.

Many service coordinators for Kelsey had excellent communication skills. They were honest, loyal and reliable. They were excellent in their flexibility and eager to learn.

You might be wondering what started all of this.

Kelsey’s current service coordinator, the best of the BEST, the love in our lives, our lifeline to all that is good and necessary for Kelsey, move. She’s so respectful, so caring and Kelsey says she’s her BEST friend.

Her name is Sarah. We tried to stop him. We wanted to flatten his tires and remove his sale sign. But it’s not good.

She is going to help her own family right now. And they don’t live nearby.

Sara, we will miss you terribly.

We love you,

Diana and Kelsey

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email him at [email protected]


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